Women and Back Pain – IHS 2009

High heels, hormones & handbags:

Women& Back Pain

Michelle Lyons @ IHS 2009

Women are different! (Not defective!)


We have : Different Hormones,

Physical structure of bones and


Psychology, Societal role

‘Busy Woman Syndrome’

(Brent Bost, MD):

Incr weight gain, incr aches and pains,

incr depression, decr libido

No. 1 cause disability in women

= depression

Often initially present with diffuse

aches and pains.

Back pain 2nd most common reason

for a visit to the doctor

(colds/flu = most common)

What your back hates:

dehydration inactivity, esp. prolonged

sitting repeated small bad habits

bad posture bending & twisting

weak core/pelvic floor heavy lifting

holding your breath when moving

High Heels: ¼ of the bones in your

body are in your feethigh heels –

increase osteoarthritis in knees,

cause altered gaitpattern, pelvic

floor dysfunction and low back pain.

decr circulation blood and qi.

need heel cup/strap in shoes but

barefoot is best!

Handbags: (and thin bra straps)

alter posture,

create trigger points in neck

and shoulder muscles

may be responsible for

migraine type headaches

Posture – often a reflection of

self image, self esteem.

self conscious about large

breast size

effects of poor posture on

breathing, energy, circulation,

digestion etc

What is good posture?

static and dynamic

finding it

Knowing the curves of

your spine; where and how

Breathing: deep breathing –

anti stress, energy production,

tones pelvic floor

Hormones: effects on joint laxity,

muscle & ligament integrity, pain

perception, mood, digestion etc

Anti –inflammatory foods:

water not fizzy drinks/ soda

oats, onions, garlic,

dark green leafy veg.

cider vinegar and honey,

omega 3’s: nuts and seeds

esp. flaxseed, oily fish

bay, turmeric, ginger,



Black Cohosh

old name ‘Rheumatism Root’

not just for menopause!


also good menopausal ally

St Johns wort

esp. if nerve pain

(I use internally &


SAMe; esp. if pain accompanied

by depression


arnica for initial trauma,

rue for bruising

Healing power of touch – connection

gingerEO & juniperEO

in a massage oil blend,

lavenderEO & rosemaryEO

in a massage oil blend

lavender EO and peppermint EO,

in a massage blend

grated root of ginger in a compress

Epsom salts in bath

Final thoughts:

Lifestyle vs. Medicating

(whether herbs or pharmaceutical)

Proactive or Reactive

Taking control or giving it away

to someone else

‘Never grow a wishbone, daughter,

where your backbone

should be’

– Clementine Paddleford

2 Responses to “Women and Back Pain – IHS 2009

  • Back Pain Therapy Exercises And Massage

    In addition to pain medication the attending physician or physical therapist may prescribe a regimen of back pain therapy exercises. This is because often damage to the back and subsequent pain is caused by the fact that the individual does not exercise their back muscles. Therefore back pain therapy exercises are prescribed as a way of strengthening the back muscles.

    Some of those exercises could include low impact exercises such as swimming, bicycling and walking. In addition, back pain therapy exercises could include the use of exercises that concentrate specifically on the lower back. These exercises could include the pelvic tilt, partial setups, or stretching the lower back exercises.

    One additional treatment method is through back pain massage therapy. This is a process in which the therapist massages the back muscles through the use of their fingers and possibly heat. This massaging helps to invigorate the muscles and increase the blood flow to the area which in turn helps to facilitate the healing process.

    • I believe that an early return to normal movement as soon as possible is the key to recovery from back pain – restoring proper body mechanics by enhancing corestability, stretching over-tight structures and strengthening over-weak muscle groups is the way to reversing back pain. However in order to get to a point where movement is possible, I think using heat or ice packs as an adjunct to massage therapy is an excellent starting point. There are many herbal allies that can be used (eg St John’s, Arnica, solomon’s Seal) as well as incorporating anti-inflammatory foods (oats, onions, dark green leafy veg, turmeric to name a few) but one of the most important anti-inflammatory nutritional strategies we can incorporate is to increase our water intake. An introduction to pilates or yoga therapy is a valuable tool to restore dynamic function to the spine, coupled with postural and ergonimc advice where appropriate.

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